Big Ditch gets $1.9 million in tax breaks for Cheektowaga brewery

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Big Ditch Brewing is getting nearly $1.9 million in tax breaks for its $32.3 million project to build a second craft brewery and restaurant in Cheektowaga.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency approved the tax breaks on Wednesday. The tax breaks apply only to the portion of the project involving Big Ditch’s brewing and production facilities, as well as its warehouse. About 43% of the project’s costs are for the restaurant and tap room, which are not eligible for IDA incentives.

The craft brewing company, which has its flagship site at 55 E. Huron St. in downtown Buffalo, plans to open a 105,000-square-foot facility on the site of a former Holiday Inn  at 6700-6704 Transit Road, just north of the Depew/Lockport Thruway exit.

The new facility will have more than three times the brewing capacity of Big Ditch’s downtown site – 50,000 barrels annually, compared with 15,000 barrels a year downtown – and will be one of the biggest craft brewing locations in the region. About half of the new facility will be for a taproom and dining area, with the other half devoted to offices and brewing facilities.

“The location is perfect,” said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. “It will help the economy here and in Amherst and in Erie County as a whole.”

The site is owned by local developer Iskalo Development, whose president and CEO, Paul Iskalo, also is one of Big Ditch’s co-founders. Iskalo purchased nearly five acres of land, encompassing the former hotel and neighboring used-car property, for $3.5 million last June.

Big Ditch officials have said the city brewery will continue to produce beer, but will have more of a focus on the development of new craft beers.

The project is expected to create 90 full-time jobs paying an average of $37,000 a year and about 156 part-time jobs paying an average of $15,600, said Karen Fiala, the IDA’s manager of tax incentives.

Posted by The Buffalo News

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